9. Tuberculosis

Abandoned buildings Staten Island’s Seaview Hospital where tuberculosis was treated and a cure was being researched

In New York City during the 1980s, tuberculosis dramatically spread throughout the city, with over 3,800 New Yorkers receiving a tuberculosis diagnosis in 1992. By 1990, New York City had 15% of the country’s cases, and by 1991, 50 people out of 100,000 New Yorkers had TB. Among black men aged 35-44, the incidence was a surprising 469 out of 100,000 people. Cases in New York in children under 15 rose by 97% as well.
Yet completion of TB treatment was a grim 60% in 1989, which meant that many infectious patients were threats to others. Yet, New York took action to lower the number of TB cases to 1,700 in 1997, with the rate of TB in children falling significantly. New York developed directly observed therapy (DOT) programs to improve treatment completion rates, and infection control was improved in institutional settings. It was also in New York City, at Staten Island’s Seaview Hospital that the cure for tuberculosis was found.